Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Review: Lynna Lawton’s UNDER CRIMSON SAILS – A Captivating Bodice Ripper with a Sea Captain from the Old South…ah yes!

This is a difficult one to review. It’s one that will grab you from the beginning and keep you reading late into the night. It’s well written and full of action. But you have to know going in that the hero is a cad for the entire book and though the heroine loves only the hero, she is with several other men, either for only one encounter or because, in the case of the pirates, she is forced to it.

Set in the late 18th century after the American Revolutionary War (which ended in 1783), this is a story of Ryan Deverel, the bastard son of a wealthy plantation owner. Ryan is also a former privateer, a successful sea captain and landowner. He is also a man of many women. So when he first encounters the beautiful flaxen haired Janielle Patterson, thinking her a servant, he ties her to his bed and then later, rapes her (more a forced seduction). In Ryan’s own words, “when it came to women, he had no conscience.”

When Ryan learns that Janielle is not a servant, as he had thought, but the only surviving daughter of a fellow plantation owner and that she is betrothed to one of his friends, does he apologize or even care? Not at all. He takes advantage of the woman that he has made her and continues to make love to Janielle without a word about love or the future. The natural consequence is, of course, that she becomes pregnant. I don’t want to give away the plot, or the many developments which follow, as they are intricate and there are some surprises, but let me just say that Janielle makes some bad judgments, one involving Ryan’s estate overseer, who would have Janelle for his own. Of course, she was not alone. Other women made bad judgments where Ryan was concerned. It seemed women just couldn’t resist him.

Ryan knew everything about seducing women but he knew nothing about love. Janielle knew she loved Ryan but when Ryan scorned her, she tried to find happiness with others—and failed.

This romance will not appeal to all because the heroine, a very likeable courageous woman, makes mistakes we don’t like our heroines to make. And the year Ryan spent as a pirate (the way he treated Janielle) made me hope the authorities hanged him. But it will hold you captive, I promise. The author tells the tale well, letting us experience the emotions, the conflicting desires, the agony of lost love and the frustrations. She also adds meaningful history that brings the story to life. And, to my great delight, her ship scenes are well drawn and her terminology right!

It's going on my Best Pirate/Privateer Romances and Best Bodice Rippers lists.

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